Star Wars introduced me to geekdom.
I was about ten years old when I first sat in front of a massive CRT and VHS setup on vacation at my cousin’s cabin in the woods. Except I wasn’t scared in the least bit. I was mesmerized. So started fifteen years of action figures, extended universe books, costumes, excitement and consequent disappointment at the prequels.
You can imagine then my surprise at the news last week of Lucas selling his empire to Disney for over $4 billion. I posted my initial reactions to that corporate decision on that day on my Geek My Life blog, but since then I have realized that this sale was probably the best thing for Lucasfilm to re-energize it. I’m assuming, of course, that Disney will re-energize faithfully to the Star Wars franchise, and with the latest rumors coming out of the Hollywood offices, I think they’re on the right track.
Several sites claim to have insider information that Matthew Vaughn dropped the sequel to the X-Men movie because he was offered directorship of Star Wars VII. Vaughn has a solid and many would even say impressive resume that consists of Stardust, Kick-Ass, and X-Men: First Class. All of these films were successful in their own ways, a hard accomplishment in the cut-throat, short-attention-span industry of movies.
These films exemplified strong directing mixed with entertaining, consistent story lines and easy-to-follow pacing. If Vaughn is able to do the same thing with Star Wars VII, I doubt few Star Wars fans will find anything substantial to complain about in regards to storytelling, especially since Vaughn is a writer. “If [Vaughn] ends up directing Star Wars, we’d also be getting someone that could solve script issues on set” [Collider]. This is especially important considering that my digital media professor keeps emphasizing that the successful professionals in entertainment are the ones that know more than just one craft.
But what about the characters? What will Disney do with them? After all, people like Luke, Han, Leia, and even the non-humans like C-3PO are many of the reasons why fans are in love with Star Wars in the first place. Though the film hasn’t officially been scripted yet, Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher have already gone on record to say they are excited to see the future of Star Wars. How ironic considering that when Hamill was younger he said that “[Return of the Jedi] has to be the last one, period” [Huffington Post].
Harrison Ford decided to join the ranks, kind of last-minute like when Han decided to join the Rebels. But he took it a step further, saying that he is open to the idea of being in the new film, not just supporting it off-screen. Considering that he thought Han Solo “should have died in the last one to give it some bottom” [EW], it appears that Ford’s attitude towards his character and the franchise is coming around. Ford probably “won’t go to the next level of contract talks until there’s a script and director in place” [EW], but him coming back as Han Solo for Star Wars VII could very well be one of the turning points to returning the Lucasfilm franchise to the grand old way it was.
There are a lot of “we’ll see” and “what ifs?” flying around right now in the Star Wars fandom, but it’s better for them to be flying around at lightspeed like the Falcon than to not be around at all. That would mean Star Wars VII isn’t happening, which would be disastrous. Besides, many of us are just starting to get used to saying Star Wars VII without questioning the reality of it. We’re in a happy place now.